Rep Council 9/11/13: Our Friend Beiser

By Shane Parmely, CTA State Council Delegate/Candidate for SDEA Board Seat 5

Rep. Council Endorses Kevin Beiser for Reelection, Despite Him Singing the $92 Million Deficit Song

While the September 11, 2013 Rep Council agenda held many agenda items (ask your AR or attend yourself next time to learn more!), the Rep Council’s endorsement of Kevin Beiser for reelection was the most interesting. Beiser spoke to the Rep Council, and did a wonderful job (again) of seeming to preach to the choir and put a positive spin on some of his more questionable decisions. He stated that he voted for Superintendent Cindy Marten’s additional $725K of Ed Center administrators because it was “cost neutral” (not so). He said that when he voted to bring TFA to San Diego, he only did so after including language that guaranteed that every educator (including temporary and visiting teachers) already employed by SDUSD would have a chance to apply for available positions before it would be offered to a TFA “teacher.”  (Although if that’s true, then why did the TFA people seem so happy after the SDUSD Board voted to approve their contract?) Interesting, when listing off the accomplishments of his first term, he left out the fact that he voted to lay off 1,500 teachers and supported using those layoffs to force us to take concessions.

After Beiser spoke, members had the opportunity to ask questions.  I asked what Beiser was going to do for us this year.  I stated that I believe that our District has the money right now to cancel all furlough days and restore our pay and that I wanted to know if he would be working towards making this happen.  He didn’t answer the question.  He talked about the past year, explaining Prop 30 and the process of how pay restorations and furlough days were decided — things most reps already know.  He said that SDUSD is not projected to have a surplus this year, and that we are projected to have a $92M budget deficit (please see Fake Future Financial 911).  So, in short, no, Beiser is not going to work toward canceling additional furlough days or restoring our pay increases.

And I want to emphasize something here… Beiser said that the latest numbers from the finance department tell us we are going to have a $92M deficit next year.  Beiser also said that he is committed to balancing the budget, no layoffs, and class size reduction.  Take a minute and do the math.  The District has told us repeatedly over the past several years they see two ways to fill their budget “deficits” — by laying off SDEA members, or extracting wage concessions from SDEA members. So if Beiser and the Board are committed to no layoffs, and they claim to have a $92 million budget deficit for 14-15, how are they going to balance their budget? Here’s a guess: It won’t involve us getting our July 1, 2014 5% raise, let alone bargaining additional raises into our next contract.

During the Q&A session, Beiser dodged another question:  Why was new Superintendent Cindy Marten chosen so quickly and without any input from educators or the community?  Suddenly, Beiser didn’t have an answer and Bill Freeman moved on to the next question.  It was weird and didn’t sit well with many of us as we watched Freeman give Beiser cover from the question.

Eventually, his endorsement was put to a vote…  WHILE HE WAS STILL IN THE ROOM.  (If we’re going to run our meetings by Robert’s Rules of Order, candidates are supposed to LEAVE the room and not be present during votes.)  The vote was not very enthusiastic.  The ayes had it, but it was clear that many people did not vote.  And can you blame them?  It’s hard to vote “no” for endorsing one of your School Board members while he is watching you.

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